James R. Waite, Esq. is a corporate lawyer with over 2 decades of experience in buying, selling and financing businesses and their assets, acting as general business and legal counsel, and serving in a variety of management roles. Having represented hundreds of equipment dealers and lessors throughout North America and around the world, Mr. Waite has created a network of thousands of equipment dealers and rental companies with whom he regularly corresponds. He wrote the American Rental Association’s book on rental contracts, publishes a monthly article entitled “Legally Speaking” in Rental Management Magazine, and routinely presents at industry association local and national conferences (including a presentation on buying and selling rental businesses to hundreds of rental operators at the ARA’s 2018 national convention in New Orleans). He is a veteran of the United States Air Force, has a BBA in Finance from the University of Texas at San Antonio, a Juris Doctor from St. Mary’s University, and an MBA from Northwestern University.
We represent hundreds of manufacturers, dealers and rental companies worldwide on a wide range of issues, including each of the Practice Areas identified below, and many more. Founder, James Waite, wrote the American Rental Association’s book on Rental Contracts, presents throughout the world on equipment-related topics, including buying, selling and financing equipment businesses and their assets, writes the well-known “Legally Speaking” article for Rental Management Magazine, and provides legal and consulting services for hundreds of equipment companies throughout North America and around the world.
Our Practice Areas
- Corporate Law
- Business Sales
- Business Purchases
- Business and Equipment Financing
- Manufacturer and Dealer Relationships
- Banking and Lending Relationships
- Equipment Purchases, Sales, Rentals and Leases
- Parts Provisioning
- Contract Negotiation and Drafting
- Mechanics’ Liens
- Bond Claims
- Real Estate
- Employment Issues
- Other Business Issues
Are you sure your attorney understands the business you’re in?
we’ve been in the equipment industry for over 25 years.
If you’re an ARA member, it’s free. The ARA pays for 2 hours of our time every calendar year. You can schedule a call with us anytime and ask any question(s) you like – including whether you need a lawyer based on what you tell us. As long as your call(s) don’t exceed that 2 hours, you won’t receive a bill from us unless you decide to retain us.
I’ve been in the industry since the early 1990s, and prior to that, I worked with equipment in the military (yes, I’m a veteran). I also wrote the American Rental Association’s book on equipment rental contracts and related agreements, and I’ve since served in various executive positions in the industry, including CEO of aircraft leasing concern ICC, USA, General Counsel of airline, ICC, Canada, General Counsel of RentX Industries, Inc., COO of Dental Planet, and outside counsel for hundreds of equipment dealers and rental companies between the U.S., Canada, France, Great Britain and Australia.
Yes, I grew up working with all types of equipment. Being born in a small town in Iowa, and spending most of my youth in small Midwest farming towns, I had little choice (but loved it).
At this point, the number is safely in the hundreds, and probably in the thousands. I lost count back in the late 1990s.
Relationships are key. After I wrote the ARA’s book on equipment rental contracts, I began hearing from equipment companies from all over North America and throughout the world. Fortunately, I had already done a great deal of work throughout the U.S. and in places like England, France, Italy, Germany and Israel (I worked for equipment rental companies in many of those places, and also leased airliners from and into a number of countries where I’d made valuable contacts both within and outside of the legal profession). Doing so provided invaluable experience and has made it relatively easy to expand those relationships as and when my clients have needed them.
Our rates fall somewhere in the middle of what attorneys charge in New York ($800 to $1,500 per hour) and Nebraska ($100 to $200 per hour). We don’t try to be the cheapest, nor do we try to charge more than is fair. The equipment industry is fairly small, and people tend to see each other more than once – meaning it isn’t much different from one of the small towns where I grew up. Your reputation is everything, so you can’t afford to treat anyone unfairly – people talk.
I wish it were that easy. No, despite portrayals by legal “forms” websites, most agreements have to be negotiated and written specifically for our clients and their specific types of equipment, operations, locations, relationships, state and local laws and regulations, etc.
It’s sometimes possible to use certain provisions like warranty waivers across documents, but trying to do so with everything is dangerous. I once saw a provision in a rental contract that required the (Ohio-based) rental company who used it to litigate all of their claims in Missouri.
It is, of course, possible to find a “form” on one of those on-line websites; the problem is, you won’t find out how inadequate it is until you lose a lawsuit (and what does that cost? – at the low end, $50,000 in cash, to say nothing of the years of your time and energy spent getting to trial). Our objective is to save you most of that by putting you in the right position up front.
Dozens. I was hired on initially at RentX back in the early 1990s for the sole purpose of assisting in buying the what turned into roughly 100 locations in 14 states – in 18 months. I went on to represent many more businesses, both within and outside of the equipment industry, including several airlines, in buying or selling their operations. Later, in 2004, my old company (then HSS RentX) hired me again to assist in selling off most of the same stores we’d purchased back in the 90s. Suffice it to say, we’ve done a great deal in this arena.
I was able to make contact with James and I thank you. I am still amazed at how customer friendly and responsive the staff is in your practice. Much appreciated!
We appreciate the understanding and insight Mr. Waite has of our industry. He was able to guide us towards better protection of our company, while keeping in mind that we want our contracts to be customer-friendly.
I made one call to James Waite, and two days later he sent me exactly what I was looking for. It’s like having an attorney on retainer. Great. We’ll be using him again.
We have appreciated working with James Waite and his team. In our discussions with James, he demonstrated substantial knowledge in rental industry operations. That gave us a lot of confidence as we revised and updated our contracts and documentation.
Thanks for answering all my questions (without all the fancy language). I didn’t know there was so much to it.
Attorney James Waite and his staff have been excellent to collaborate with on projects. They possess some of the most in-depth rental industry knowledge I have ever found. Our rental contracts and understanding of the rental law are much improved based on my relationship with James R. Waite, LLC.
James and his staff are professional, courteous and give me piece of mind with my rental contracts.
James Waite is an invaluable resource if you are in the rental business. He spends the necessary time learning about your business and provides unique solutions for the difficult challenges you are facing.
Mabey Inc. wanted to establish a damage waiver program and we were referred to James Waite for legal assistance. James was extremely knowledgeable and responsive and helped guide us through the entire process. He was so helpful that I plan to engage him to do additional legal work for our company.
Very accommodating and easy to work with. Made the whole process easier than I would have ever thought it could be.
After speaking with Mr. Waite and Ms. Levy it was clear to me why Mr. Waite came so highly recommended. He and his staff were extremely efficient and he knows contracts like the back of his hand. He was quick to respond to all of my questions, and there wasn’t a “T” left uncrossed in my contract when he was done. You get what you pay for, and Mr. Waite’s contracts are, without a doubt, worth every penny, if not more. I like to look at his contracts as an affordable insurance policy and a cheap investment in the long run. Hats off to Mr. Waite, and Ms. Levy for their customer service.
I would highly recommend Mr. Waite to any company looking for an attorney who is well-versed in the industry. He is widely known as the best in the business. He and his staff were very helpful, knowledgeable, and prompt in answering questions; they returned phone calls and emails immediately. We look forward to using their services again in the future and hope to maintain a continuing relationship with them.
Working with James Waite and his staff was a pleasure, Truly Professional. I highly recommend him.
We are very satisfied with the services provide by James Waite, it was very fast , hassle free and it looks so much better them our previous rental contract , we feel very confident with the new contract provide it was worth the money!
articles by James Waite
A Newly Shortened Forgiveness Application Offers a Ray of Hope for Small Businesses. As many PPP loan participants know, the…
Question: I’ve been hearing a lot about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act stimulus package. I’ve applied…
Question: keep hearing about new laws and lawsuits being filed against equipment lessors, and I’m particularly concerned about the coronavirus….
Question: I’m considering buying some equipment from a manufacturer with whom I haven’t dealt with before, and I’m anticipating they…
Click here to see this article on Rental Management Magazine.
Click here to see this article on Rental Management Magazine.
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IMPORTANT NOTICE: We reserve the right to decline to provide services (including contract analyses) to any person or entity, at any time, for any reason or for no reason By receiving/accepting your document(s) and/or conducting any initial consultation(s), James R. Waite is not agreeing to act as your legal counsel or in any other representative capacity on your behalf, and he will not be deemed to have done so, unless and until he separately agrees to do so in writing. Mr. Waite reserves the right to decline or terminate representation of any client or prospective client for any reason or for no reason, in his sole discretion. We will collaborate with local legal counsel in your state as and when necessary in order to comply with applicable ethical rules. We retain the exclusive ownership of all intellectual property (including copyrights) in and to the documents we provide. Such documents are licensed (non-exclusively) to our clients solely for use in their rental businesses, and not for distribution to parties other than their customers. Willful copyright infringement can result in criminal penalties, including a fine of up to $250,000 per offense and imprisonment of up to five (5) years. We provide .pdf (not Word) documents. You are authorized to use such documents solely and exclusively for the purpose of documenting your own transactions. You agree to refrain from copying, distributing, posting online, or otherwise making such document(s) available for copying and/or distribution to, by or for the benefit of any unauthorized person(s) or entity(ies) (including other rental companies) for use in connection with any business other than your own rental and/or sales business.